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FOE-US Statement on the Coup in Honduras

Posted Aug. 11, 2009 / Posted by: AMatisoff

UPDATE:  Two months after the coup in Honduras, the coup regime has refused to accept diplomatic options to return the county to democracy.  In light of these developments, the US State Department officials made it clear that they are considering legally defining the situation as a "military coup."  This would creat an automatic cut-off of all remaining aid to Honduras.  The coup regime immediately responded by saying that they would allow Zelaya to return with amnesty, but not as president.  Clearly the coup leaders are caving to the pressure.  We need you to act now to return democracy to Honduras. 

Call the US State Department (1-800-877-8339) and the White House (1-202-456-1111) today and tell them the following message:  "Legally define the de facto regime in Honduras as a military coup and cut off all aid to Honduras until President Zelaya is unconditionally reinstated."

Read FoE President Brent Blackwelder's letter to Secretary of State Clinton regarding ongoing repression of civil society in Honduras.

Usurping Democracy

On June 28th, Honduran President Manuel Zelaya was kidnapped from the presidential residence and forced into exile by members of the Honduran military during the country’s first coup d’etat in over three decades. The soldiers were acting on behalf of a small group of powerful business and political elites who were dissatisfied with President Zelaya’s recent pro-poor political trajectory. The coup was unequivocally condemned by nearly every country in Latin America, along with the European Union. They overwhelmingly called for the immediate reinstatement of the elected President and vowed to cut off aid and trade with Honduras until that happens.  

Gross Human Rights Abuses

Since the coup, thousands of Honduran citizens have taken to the streets of Tegucigalpa and other places around the country to protest the military-backed de facto regime of Roberto Micheletti, which has brutally repressed the opposition. After more than one month since the coup regime seized power in Honduras, international observers have reported “grave and systemic” human rights violations committed by the current regime, including:

  • the executions of at least nine protestors;

  • arbitrary detention of thousands of protestors;

  • torture of citizens held in police custody;

  • harassment and death threats against teachers, judges and other citizens speaking out against the illegal usurpation of the presidency; and

  • occupation and closure of most independent media outlets.

The Crucial Role of the United States

According to Honduran President Zelaya and many Honduran citizens, the US government has the influence to mitigate the current political crisis in Honduras and stop more human rights abuses from occurring. However the US State Department has not taken decisive action to help reinstate President Zelaya and release Hondurans from the repression of a military state. After initially condemning the coup, the US State Department has been accused of back-pedaling by making justifications for the coup and not taking steps to isolate the Micheletti regime. However, some members of the US Congress and US civil society organizations are urging the Obama Administration to increase US pressure on the coup regime by taking concrete actions such as canceling US visas and freezing bank accounts of coup leaders. 

What You Can Do:

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